Tennis: Brisbane proves too hot as Garbine Muguruza retires; Andy Murray withdraws from tournament too and hints at possible hip surgery

Garbine Muguruza reacts before retiring from her second round match against Aleksandra Krunic at the Brisbane International tennis tournament.
Garbine Muguruza reacts before retiring from her second round match against Aleksandra Krunic at the Brisbane International tennis tournament.PHOTO: AFP

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) - Tennis' world No. 2 Garbine Muguruza suffered a fitness scare ahead of this month's Australian Open when she was forced to retire from the Brisbane International on Tuesday with severe cramping.

The Wimbledon champion was ahead 2-1 in the deciding set against Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic in the second round of the warm-up tournament for the season's first Grand Slam event when she collapsed to the ground following a serve.

The Spanish top seed was unable to continue and handed the match to Krunic 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 2-1.

"I felt in trouble in the second set when I was 2-0 up," Muguruza said.

"I started to feel my calves were cramping."

At the same time, former world No. 1 Andy Murray has withdrawn from the tournament in a major setback to his Melbourne Park preparations.

He suffered a right hip injury in 2017 and has not played on the ATP Tour since losing a tough five-setter to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

He said on Sunday that he felt in great shape and that he was confident he would play in Brisbane. But the 30-year-old Scot issued a statement on Tuesday announcing his withdrawal from the tournament, and did not say whether he would be able to play the year's first Grand Slam.

Hey everyone.. Just wanted to write a little message on here for anyone interested in what in going through right now. Firstly I want to apologise to @brisbanetennis for withdrawing at late notice and to everyone who wanted to come along to watch me play(or lose😇) The organisers couldn't have been more understanding and supportive and I'll always remember that. Thank you. I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists. Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing. Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover. Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as I high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not. I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and Compete.. I genuinely miss it so much and i would give anything to be back out there. I didn't realise until these last few months just how much I love this game. Everytime I wake up from sleeping or napping i hope that it's better and it's quite demoralising when you get on the court it's not at the level you need it to be to compete at this level. In the short term I'm going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to keep everyone in the loop and get this off my chest as it's really hurting inside. Hope to see you back on the court soon 🎾😢❤️
View this post on Instagram

Hey everyone.. Just wanted to write a little message on here for anyone interested in what in going through right now. Firstly I want to apologise to @brisbanetennis for withdrawing at late notice and to everyone who wanted to come along to watch me play(or lose😇) The organisers couldn't have been more understanding and supportive and I'll always remember that. Thank you. I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists. Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing. Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover. Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as I high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not. I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and Compete.. I genuinely miss it so much and i would give anything to be back out there. I didn't realise until these last few months just how much I love this game. Everytime I wake up from sleeping or napping i hope that it's better and it's quite demoralising when you get on the court it's not at the level you need it to be to compete at this level. In the short term I'm going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to keep everyone in the loop and get this off my chest as it's really hurting inside. Hope to see you back on the court soon 🎾😢❤️

A post shared by Andy Murray (@andymurray) on

Meanwhile, Muguruza had won a tight first set and appeared heading for a straight-sets win over Krunic when she opened up a 5-2 lead in the second.

However, she began to struggle in the 30 deg C heat and oppressive humidity as Krunic fought back to win the second set on a tie-break.

Muguruza received treatment from the physio on court before the start of the decider and broke Krunic only to collapse while serving to consolidate the service break.

"I continued to think that with the match they might go away, and then they were increasing, increasing. And then I had a lot of my body cramping," she said.

The loss ends any hope Muguruza had of leapfrogging Simona Halep and becoming world No. 1 before the seedings are decided for Australian Open, which begins on Jan 15.

But Muguruza was not too downhearted by having to withdraw.

"I'm pleased because we were playing very good points and, you know, good rallies," she said.

"I felt it was a good level, a good match, but I wanted to finish to see, to evaluate how the match was, but I'm happy with the way I was playing."

Krunic will now play either Sorana Cirstea or Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals.

Last year's runner-up Alize Cornet eased into the final eight with a straight-sets win over Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Cornet, who won her first-round match when fourth seed Caroline Garcia retired injured, was too consistent for Lucic-Baroni, winning 6-1, 7-5.

In the men's draw, 21-year-old South Korean Chung Hyeon stunned fifth seed Gilles Muller from Luxembourg 6-3, 7-6 (7-1), while US qualifier Michael Mmoh upset Argentinian Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4.

Murray said he would stay in Brisbane as he "works towards returning to the tennis circuit".

"I'm very disappointed to be withdrawing from the Brisbane International," he added.

"I came here with every intention of making a strong start to the year, but sadly my team and I don't feel that I'm where I need to be just yet to compete at the highest level."

Murray joins top seed and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the tournament late last week, on the sidelines.